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Home / Articles / Views / Letters /  Letters | Don't forget Native Americans
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Thursday, September 19,2013

Letters | Don't forget Native Americans

Don’t forget Native Americans

“Does it really make sense that a place that was named Colorado by the Spanish, a place once claimed by Spanish kings and Mexican governors and Mexican land barons, a place fought over by Mexico and the United States for years, would not have a rich Latino history?” [From “Eracism,” cover story, Aug. 22.]

I feel it is sad that they stopped history with this being Spanish/Mexican land. They neglected to mention how those same Spanish tried to kill off all of the Pueblo tribes of Native American and other that were living in the area in their search for gold. Funny how you can stop history at the place it best suits your arguments. Wish the area had a rich Native American history.

Rhonda K. Chesnutt/Boulder

City’s muni pamphlet is illegal

Notwithstanding Boulder spokeswoman Sarah Huntley’s gratuitous remarks defending it, the city’s recent distribution of a so-called community guide on the municipalization battle clearly violates Colorado’s law forbidding cities from engaging in advocacy on ballot questions. Huntley made several blatantly misleading remarks trying to justify the city’s illegal act.

She (and city attorney Tom Carr in an email response to a complaint about the electioneering) maintained the pamphlet’s purpose was to inform citizens about work done to date on municipalization and carbon reduction. Unfortunately, the document is full of assertions that things were done, but does not actually describe what or how nor provide any factual results, only the happy conclusions. Sorry, but that is not information, it is attempted persuasion, which is illegal when supported by public money.

If, as Huntley claims, the city felt a “special obligation to explain” what was done, the pamphlet should have done so. Instead, it misrepresents both the citizen initiative requiring more transparency on debt issues and the city council’s competing measure to forestall it. Her claim about disseminating information is a red herring.

Huntley also said the city was careful to expend all money and print the pamphlets before the August 20 final vote on ballot language. That may be true, but the booklet was delivered after the ballot measure was approved. Does not the action count more than the date it was paid for? And was there any doubt the city’s ballot question would be approved? Clearly not, because the pamphlet unequivocally states the city’s question will be on the ballot. If the pamphlet was not advocacy, why did the city feel the need to pay for it before election rules kicked in? Oh, says Huntley, because the city wanted to honor the intent of the rules. By so saying, she admits the city recognized the booklet crossed the line into electioneering.

She also justified the pamphlet’s content by asking whether Xcel Energy would include pro-municipalization views in pieces it produces. That sounds a lot like a kindergartner saying, “If Susie doesn’t have to be balanced in her campaign literature, we don’t either.” State law says otherwise. And the defense tacitly acknowledges the imbalance in the purportedly even-handed, informational document.

Huntley’s final surprise was her supposition that, as a home rule city, Boulder may not be subject to state election law on spending and advocacy. What part of C.R.S. 1-45-117 does the city not understand? The statute applies, in plain English, to “any political subdivision of the state.” Has the city seceded from Colorado?

How can the city now unring the bell? Obviously, it will not make a balancing contribution to the Voter Approval of Debt Limits committee for $68,455. That is how much the city says it spent on its illegal pamphlet. Nor will it take action against employees responsible for the infraction, who were enthusiastically doing city council’s will. The unfortunate truth is, after our government tilted the election field in its direction at taxpayer expense and tried to rationalize the misdeed with verbal sleight of hand, there is nothing anyone can or will do to offset the damage. Whatever we think about a municipal electric utility, all citizens should be outraged when our officials break the law.

David D. Wagner/Boulder

 

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